Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Sacrifice of Captain Humayun Khan

The speech by Khizr Khan, father of a Muslim American soldier, Humayun Khan, who was killed while serving in Iraq in 2004, has become the most famous of the Democratic National Convention this week. There is so much to write about this and discuss. Lao tailugat yu' pa'go na ha'ani.

In the meantime, here are some articles discussing the speech and the way it has affected the 2016 presidential race.

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Father of Muslim American War Hero to Trump, 'You Have Sacrificed Nothing'
by Igor Bobic
Huffington Post
7/28/16

PHILADELPHIA ― The father of a Muslim American war hero addressed the Democratic National Convention on Thursday, delivering a brutal takedown of Donald Trump and his inflammatory anti-Muslim rhetoric.

Khizr Khan spoke about the heroism of his son, Army Capt. Humayun S.M. Khan, who was killed in action in Iraq by an advancing vehicle loaded with hundreds of pounds of explosives. The 27-year-old soldier, who was born in the UAE, ordered his unit to halt while he walked toward the vehicle, saving the lives of his fellow soldiers.

With his wife standing beside him, Khan brought Democratic delegates to their feet by denouncing Trump and his proposed ban on Muslims.

“Hillary Clinton was right when she called my son the best of America. If it was up to Donald Trump, he never would have been in America,” he said. “Donald Trump consistently smears the character of Muslims. He disrespects other minorities, women, judges, and even his own party leadership. Donald Trump loves to build walls and ban us from this country.”

Khan then addressed the Republican nominee directly.

“Let me ask you, have you even read the U.S. Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy,” he said, pulling a copy of the document from his pocket.

“Look for the words ‘liberty’ and ‘equal protection of law.’ Have you ever been to Arlington National Cemetery? Go look at the graves of the brave patriots who died defending this country,” he said. 
“You have sacrificed nothing,” he said, to roars from the crowd. “We cannot solve our problems by building walls. We are stronger together. We will keep getting stronger when Hillary Clinton becomes our president.”

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Trump criticized my silence. He knows nothing about true sacrifice.
Ghazala Khan’s son, U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan, was killed in Iraq in 2004.
Donald Trump has asked why I did not speak at the Democratic convention. He said he would like to hear from me. Here is my answer to Donald Trump: Because without saying a thing, all the world, all America, felt my pain. I am a Gold Star mother. Whoever saw me felt me in their heart.

Donald Trump said I had nothing to say. I do. My son Humayun Khan, an Army captain, died 12 years ago in Iraq. He loved America, where we moved when he was 2 years old. He had volunteered to help his country, signing up for the ROTC at the University of Virginia. This was before the attack of Sept. 11, 2001. He didn’t have to do this, but he wanted to.

When Humayun was sent to Iraq, my husband and I worried about his safety. I had already been through one war, in Pakistan in 1965, when I was just a high school student. So I was very scared. You can sacrifice yourself, but you cannot take it that your kids will do this.

We asked if there was some way he could not go, because he had already done his service. He said it was his duty. I cannot forget when he was going to the plane, and he looked back at me. He was happy, and giving me strength: “Don’t worry, Mom. Everything will be all right.”

The last time I spoke to my son was on Mother’s Day 2004. We had asked him to call us collect whenever he could. I begged him to be safe. I asked him to stay back, and not to go running around trying to become a hero, because I knew he would do something like that.

He said, “Mom, these are my soldiers, these are my people. I have to take care of them.” He was killed by a car bomber outside the gates of his base. He died trying to save his soldiers and innocent civilians.

That is my son. Humayun was always dependable. If I was vacuuming the house and he was home, he would take the vacuum from my hand and clean the house. He volunteered to teach disabled children in the hospital how to swim. He said, “I love when they have a little bit of progress and their faces, they light up. At least they are that much happy.” He wanted to be a lawyer, like his father, to help people.

Humayun is my middle son, and the others are doing so well, but every day I feel the pain of his loss. It has been 12 years, but you know hearts of pain can never heal as long as we live. Just talking about it is hard for me all the time. Every day, whenever I pray, I have to pray for him, and I cry. The place that emptied will always be empty.

I cannot walk into a room with pictures of Humayun. For all these years, I haven’t been able to clean the closet where his things are — I had to ask my daughter-in-law to do it. Walking onto the convention stage, with a huge picture of my son behind me, I could hardly control myself. What mother could? Donald Trump has children whom he loves. Does he really need to wonder why I did not speak?

Donald Trump said that maybe I wasn’t allowed to say anything. That is not true. My husband asked me if I wanted to speak, but I told him I could not. My religion teaches me that all human beings are equal in God’s eyes. Husband and wife are part of each other; you should love and respect each other so you can take care of the family.

When Donald Trump is talking about Islam, he is ignorant. If he studied the real Islam and Koran, all the ideas he gets from terrorists would change, because terrorism is a different religion.

Donald Trump said he has made a lot of sacrifices. He doesn’t know what the word sacrifice means.

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 Khizr Khan, Father of Slain War Hero, Calls Donald Trump A 'Black Soul'
by Igor Bobic
Huffington Post
7/31/16

Khir Khan, the father of a slain Muslim American war hero, on Sunday continued to speak out against Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his anti-Muslim bigotry.

“He is a black soul, and this is totally unfit for the leadership of this country,” Khan said in an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union.” “The love and affection that we have received affirms that our grief ― that our experience in this country has been correct and positive. The world is receiving us like we have never seen. They have seen the blackness of his character, of his soul.”
Khan last week delivered an impassioned speech at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, challenging the Manhattan real estate mogul, who has proposed banning all Muslims from entering the U.S., to read the Constitution. “You have sacrificed nothing and no one,” Khan said.

The GOP nominee shot back over the weekend, telling ABC News he has made “a lot of sacrifices.” He also suggested Ghazala Khan wasn’t allowed to speak at the convention.

“If you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say. You tell me,” Trump said.

On Sunday, Khan reiterated his belief that Republican leaders like House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) needed to speak out against Trump.

“It is a moral obligation ― history will not forgive them,” he told CNN. “This election will pass, but history will be written. The lack of moral courage with remain a burden on their souls.”

In a separate interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Khan described the outpouring of support he had received around the country ― even from some prominent Republicans.

“I’d rather not disclose the names. That is a personal trust and faith that they have placed by writing to me, by speaking with me,” he said, praising “the emails and the documents and the calls and the messages that we continue to receive, the flowers we continue to receive at our home.”

“This morning, I was coming to you. And I stepped out the door of the hotel. And two persons came and gave me a hug,” he added. “I don’t know them. And they said, ‘You have done something that our heart always had. You have given words to it.’ Last night, coming into the hotel, the lobby was full of strangers that were standing there, wanting to shake my hand ... It is something that shows the goodness of this country, that we should not divide, we should not sow the hatred, the division.”

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 Why Khizr Khan's DNC Speech Was So Effective
Doug Hattaway
Huffington Post
7/30/16

Among the many inspirational stories shared this week at the Democratic National Convention, Khizr Khan’s tribute to his son, Army Capt. Humayun Khan, stood out. The younger Khan, an American Muslim, gave his life in Iraq to save the lives of his fellow soldiers. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.
The speech simultaneously conveyed a father’s love for his lost child and pride in his country, punctuated by a direct repudiation of Donald Trump. “Have you ever been to Arlington Cemetery?” Khan pointedly asked the Republican nominee, referencing the site of his son’s burial. “You will see all faiths, genders, and ethnicities. You have sacrificed nothing. And no one.”
Khan’s speech has since gone viral, with #KhizrKhan trending on Twitter. His powerful appeal shows how to win over fair-minded Americans bombarded by anti-Muslim fear-mongering. In the space of six minutes, Khan—a U.S. citizen who resides in Charlottesville, VA—offered a rhetorical roadmap for combating Islamophobia in the United States.
First, Khan’s story overcame what psychology refers to as “cognitive dissonance,” in which individuals simultaneously hold incompatible ideas or conflicting emotions. When thinking about Muslims, reseearch shows that some non-Muslim Americans experience cognitive dissonance because they value the ideas of religious freedom and tolerance, but also fear terrorism and harbor a suspicion that American Muslims aren’t necessarily loyal to the U.S.
Khan’s poignant remembrance of his son’s military service obliterated the notion of disloyalty. Neutralizing doubts about the patriotism and loyalty of American Muslims creates the space for an appeal to tolerance: Anyone who puts their life on the line for our country deserves to be treated fairly.
The message research and development team at Hattaway Communications created the ad below featuring American Muslims who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country. As one person who saw the ad in a focus group put it, “This throws the prejudice out the window.”


  Beyond the power of his son’s story, Mr. Khan and other convention speakers also used powerful language by referring to his family as “American Muslims” rather than “Muslim-Americans.” While the order of the words may seem meaningless, our work has shown that these two constructs evoke surprisingly different reactions.

Focus group participants discussing this topic associated the term “Muslim-American” with words such as “foreign” and “strict,” and raised concerns about a perceived mistreatment of women. With the order of the words switched, however, the same people responded with phrases such as “came to America for a better life” and “contribute to society.”
These reactions illustrate the importance of the first word in a message, which colors the reactions to every word that follows it. This experiment also showed the power of the word “American” to help counter negative portrayals and perceptions of Muslims who are part of the fabric of our diverse society.
Mr. Khan’s speech showcased a powerful way to tell the story of Muslims in America, with examples of their contributions to and sacrifices for our country—and language that reminds people we’re all on the same team. It’s a powerful lesson for anyone interested in countering anti-Muslim fear-mongering—or battling prejudice against Americans of any race and background.

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'You Have Sacrificed Nothing'
By Former Senator Gary Hart
Huffington Post
7/29/16

Statements that resonate, speeches that linger, are not the result of a voice, a wardrobe, a hairstyle, or a handsome face. One of the greatest speeches in human history, was delivered by a man who had none of these things. He had no speech writers, no clever wordsmiths to tell him what to say and how to say it. It was literally written near the last minute on the back of an envelope. It is now carved in stone and in our hearts. It is the Gettysburg Address.
Resonance with history is most often produced by an individual with a conviction, with beliefs lodged in the heart, with a sense of honor, integrity, and principle. The person delivering words worth remembering must have something to say and a reason for saying it.
Powerful truths are often contained in a few powerful words. When Mr. Trump loses this election, it will be because of, as much as anything, these simple words: “You have sacrificed nothing.”
Mr. Khizr Khan, his silent wife beside him, looked into Mr. Trump’s soul and found...nothing.

Mr. Khan could deliver that message, so far reaching in its implications, such a devastating profile in character, because he spoke with moral conviction and authority. He and his wife had sacrificed something ultimately precious, their son, and they had sacrificed their son because they loved America, an America with liberty and justice for all.
Mr. and Mrs. Khan and their son Captain Humayun Khan are and were Muslims.
Mr. Khan said he doubted that Mr. Trump had ever read the Constitution of the United States of America and offered to share his copy with Mr. Trump. The picture of Mr. Khan holding up the Constitution should be shown to every voter and in every household in America every day of this election.
It is the purest symbol of what this election is about.
Mr. Trump should apologize to Mr. Khan for what he has said about Muslims. But he will not. He does not have the courage to do so. He has sacrificed nothing.

Moral authority is achieved through sacrifice. It cannot be acquired by immense wealth. It cannot be bargained for in the marketplace. For moral authority, we must look to Tolstoy, to Gandhi, to Martin Luther King. Each of us must look into our own souls for the courage required to achieve that authority. True leadership is never mean, bitter, angry, or divisive.
If Mr. Trump wishes to achieve that authority, he might start by begging the forgiveness of Mr. and Mrs. Khan. He will not do so. Searching his soul for courage, you will find nothing.
In the end, history remembers the Abraham Lincolns, not the Joseph McCarthys. It takes no courage and no sacrifice to demean and belittle others.
Many years from now, the fading figure of Donald Trump will be remembered with these words: You sacrificed nothing. After the election he will have plenty of time to do what Mr. Khan admonished him to do: Visit the Arlington National Cemetery and learn the meaning of sacrifice.

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